The Truth About Social Media Profiling of Job Seekers by Recruiters

social recruiting

It’s something that’s become commonplace in the recruitment industry. In fact, some recruiters spend half their efforts consumed with it. What are we talking about here? Social profiling of candidates. When it is all said and done; recruiters turn to social networks to learn as much as they can about candidates, and secretly they may (sometimes) make hiring decisions based on what they see. Professional recruiters may not like to talk about it openly, but it’s the truth in today’s job market.

Social media has had such an incredible impact on the business world the past 10 years that it has changed things markedly. For quite some time, recruiters have kept their screening processes to themselves, which is not all that surprising because this is a competitive market after all.

How do recruiters select or reject potential employees? Do they pre-judge candidates based on the images and information they find on social profiles? In this article, we’ll look at the overall impact that social media has on screening potential employees.

An Inside View of Screening Potential Employees Using Social Media Networks

Over the past handful of years, multiple research projects have been conducted to find out how social media impacts the recruiting industry. One such project, conducted by recruiting software firm Jobvite, found that “94 percent of recruiters surveyed use or plan to use social media when recruiting for their companies”. The report released was the 2013 Social Recruiting Survey. The survey also discovered that “78 percent of recruiters surveyed have admitted to hiring an employee using social media”.

Candidates used to be found primarily by recruiters via career fairs, newspaper and magazine ads, and direct employee referrals. In the mid-1990’s recruiters used all types of outlets to find the best talent available. Now, social media networks have taken the place of printed advertisements and even radio spots. Not too long ago, an article in TIME magazine focused on how companies have begun to leverage their brand in order to connect with potential employees on social media networks. Social networking is viewed as a way for recruiters to effectively brand their company and connect with both passive and active candidates in a more direct and personal way.

How Recruiters Use Social Networks to Vet Candidates

Not every recruiter uses the same methods to find candidates via social media, but for the most part, the following list includes the most common methods.

  • Find potential candidates based on their backgrounds, specific skills and career histories.
  • Sift through job applicants’ social profiles to find out who the person is based on their peers and profiles.
  • Construct groups of talented candidates using focused social network connections and job advertisements.

It is pretty much common knowledge now that recruiters like to browse the social media accounts of possible employees in order to connect with them, send them invitations to apply for open jobs, and communicate using content campaigns with passive candidates. More often than not, recruiters will look at a candidate’s social media profile to browse pictures, posts, friends, and other content before they decide whether or not to bring the candidate in for an interview.

There are quite a few people out there who view this activity as a form of “cyber-stalking” or intrusion, but there are no laws that ban these recruitment practices. When it comes down to it; users of social media networks can easily clean up their profiles, create separate profiles specifically for employers to see, or set their accounts to private whenever they choose. Candidates must remember that once content is published on the internet, it is there forever, even if they think they have deleted it.

Social Media Info That May Cause Candidate Rejection

Not many recruiters will admit the fact that some base at least a portion of their hiring decisions on what they find during a social media search of a candidate. In all honesty, why wouldn’t they do so? It just makes sense from a practical standpoint in some cases. Almost everyone is who they say they are on their social media profiles, as adverse to the 46 percent of job seekers who use false information on their resumes. It is their life, just published for all to see. Think about it; a candidate might have a sparkling resume, but their social media profile could display them partying inappropriately or posting offensive content. Recruiters are human and tend to judge based on these things.

Despite all of this, we have compiled some of the most common reasons why a recruiter might not choose a candidate because of information spotted on a social media profile. Below are just a few:

#1 - Having NO Presence on Social Media

In today’s high tech world, the minute a recruiter receives a resume for an open position, he or she will often do a quick Internet search for the applicant. Should a social profile not be found, this could actually cause the candidate issues. Why? Not having a profile could lead recruiters to believe that the candidate might not know how to speak with peers or might not have the technology know-how to create one.

#2 - Content that is Offensive/Controversial

Those seeking a new job should watch carefully what they post online, including potentially offensive or negative content. The TIME article we referenced earlier spoke of a study that found profiles on Twitter talked about “references to illicit drugs, posts of a sexual nature, and mentions of alcohol consumption were likely to be viewed negatively by 78 percent of recruiters.”

#3 - No Associations with Professional Groups or Networking

Recruiters like to browse the networks and see the professional associations candidates belong to once their online profile is found. Recruiters like to look for such things because it shows that a candidate is loyal to the industry in which they work.

#4 - Mistakes in Spelling and Grammar

Even though we are limited in space, correct grammar and spelling counts highly in social media posts. Recruiters do not like reading through poorly written profiles online. This shows that the candidate is careless and did not spend enough time developing the social profile—an indicator that their work may be shoddy too.

A word to the wise for candidates: Those searching for a job should take extra time and care to edit their social media profiles in order to receive more responses to job applications. If job seekers understand how recruiters view social media profiles, then they will be able to increase their odds of an interview. Use the above tips to improve your social networking profiles and avoid being rejected by the next recruiter who comes your way.

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